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House freshmen Essmann and Wittich get committee chairmanships

House freshmen Essmann and Wittich get committee chairmanships

HELENA — In an unusual occurrence, the top two leaders of the Montana Senate in 2013 are moving over to the state House in January, where each will play key roles as committee chairmen.

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Split PSC shoots down agreement for wind power project

HELENA — A divided state Public Service Commission this week rejected NorthWestern Energy’s agreement to buy power from a new wind project at a cost lower than the utility is paying for power from hydroelectric dams purchased earlier this year.

December 18, 2014 7:00 pmLoading…
House leaders OK simple dress code, drop stricter one

House leaders OK simple dress code, drop stricter one

HELENA — The controversy over a dress code for the Montana House of Representatives is over.

December 17, 2014 8:00 pm Photos

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Jorge Quintana

Jorge Quintana

Jorge Quintana, of Helena, never met his grandfather, who lived in Cuba. He is pleased with the announcement Wednesday that the U.S. and Cuba will work toward normal relations.

December 17, 2014 4:50 pm

Foundation funded by Blue Cross sale issuing first grants, for local health assessments

HELENA — The foundation funded by the 2013 sale of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Montana announced its first grants Wednesday for local health departments around the state to identify local health needs.

December 17, 2014 10:37 amLoading…
Bullock taps Republican lawmaker from Dillon to sponsor infrastructure bill

Bullock taps Republican lawmaker from Dillon to sponsor infrastructure bill

HELENA — Democratic Gov. Steve Bullock has turned to Republican State Rep. Jeff Welborn of Dillon to sponsor his nearly $400-million-plus infrastructure bill in the 2015 Legislature.

December 16, 2014 7:00 pmLoading…
Bullock, critic of big corporate money, now in charge of raising it for DGA

Bullock, critic of big corporate money, now in charge of raising it for DGA

HELENA — Montana Gov. Steve Bullock, a vocal critic of corporate money in politics, now heads up the Democratic Governors Association, which raises millions in corporate dollars to help elect Democratic governors — but says that doesn’t make him a hypocrite.

December 16, 2014 6:22 pmLoading…
State gets $1 million grant to examine state’s health care system

State gets $1 million grant to examine state’s health care system

HELENA — The federal government has awarded Montana $1 million to design new models of paying for and delivering health care, with an eye toward improving quality and lowering costs.

December 16, 2014 3:59 pmLoading…
Daines lays out ambitious GOP agenda for Congress – but says he’s a `pragmatic conservative’

Daines lays out ambitious GOP agenda for Congress – but says he’s a `pragmatic conservative’

HELENA — Montana’s next U.S. senator, Republican Steve Daines, says the new GOP-controlled Congress will have an active agenda next year, such as taking on “Obamacare,” passing a balanced budget, blocking costly federal regulations and approving the Keystone XL oil pipeline.

December 15, 2014 7:50 pm Photos

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Montana House to modify controversial Legislature dress code

Montana House to modify controversial Legislature dress code

HELENA — New House Speaker Austin Knudsen, R-Culbertson, said Monday he is in discussions with Democratic leaders on how to modify a controversial new House dress code that has drawn widespread criticism and national media attention.

December 15, 2014 7:43 pm Related Loading…
Bullock orders flags at half staff to honor former First Lady

Bullock orders flags at half staff to honor former First Lady

HELENA — Gov. Steve Bullock has ordered all flags in the state to be flown at half-staff on Tuesday to honor the memory of the late First Lady Carol Judge.

December 15, 2014 5:14 pmLoading…
Steve Daines

Steve Daines

U.S. Sen.-elect Steve Daines, R-Mont., says the Republican-controlled Congress will challenge the Affordable Care Act and likely vote to approve the Keystone XL Pipeline, a balanced budget and less regulation.

December 15, 2014 11:54 am
Steve Daines

Steve Daines

U.S. Sen.-elect Steve Daines, R-Mont., says the Republican-controlled Congress will challenge the Affordable Care Act and likely vote to approve the Keystone XL Pipeline, a balanced budget and less regulation.

December 15, 2014 11:54 am
Bullock ready to roll dice on giant $300 million infrastructure bill

Bullock ready to roll dice on giant $300 million infrastructure bill

HELENA — Gov. Steve Bullock is sending a massive $300 million Christmas tree of building projects to the 2015 Legislature, hoping lawmakers won’t chop it into pieces and throw some into the fireplace.

December 14, 2014 7:00 amLoading…
Oil may boom, but infrastructure is busting Montana oil, gas counties

Oil may boom, but infrastructure is busting Montana oil, gas counties

SIDNEY — Out in the epicenter of the oil and gas boom, communities are growing so quickly they can’t keep up with their basic infrastructure needs such as water and sewage treatment facilities, housing and roads and bridges.

December 14, 2014 12:30 am Photos

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Former first lady Carol Judge an advocate for health care, kids, equal rights

Former first lady Carol Judge an advocate for health care, kids, equal rights

HELENA — Former Montana first lady Carol Judge was a kind, gracious and remarkable woman who used her public role and her background as a registered nurse to help lead the push to overhaul Montana’s neglected institutions in the mid-1970s.

December 14, 2014 12:00 am Photos

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Unsuccessful Supreme Court candidate takes Nevada solicitor general job

Unsuccessful Supreme Court candidate takes Nevada solicitor general job

HELENA — Unsuccessful Montana Supreme Court candidate Lawrence VanDyke said he intends to remain an active member of the State Bar of Montana for the foreseeable future after he moves to Nevada to become that state’s solicitor general.

December 12, 2014 7:01 amLoading…
Bullock's office says it's not required to publicize timber meetings

Bullock's office says it's not required to publicize timber meetings

HELENA — The Bullock administration was not required to publicize meetings on which Montana forestlands should be tabbed for expedited logging, because the meetings had no power to make a final decision, a state lawyer argued Thursday.

December 11, 2014 6:15 pmLoading…

Blue Cross paying $1 million penalty for complaints about service

HELENA — Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Montana, the state’s largest private health insurer, agreed Thursday to pay a $1 million penalty for a raft of customer-service complaints and problems handled by state regulators.

December 11, 2014 6:10 pmLoading…
In farewell speech, Walsh calls for more civility in Washington

In farewell speech, Walsh calls for more civility in Washington

HELENA — Sen. John Walsh gave his farewell speech to the Senate on Wednesday and called for a return to civility in Washington.

December 10, 2014 7:15 pmLoading…
Furloughs, layoffs possible at Livestock Department; budget short $300K

Furloughs, layoffs possible at Livestock Department; budget short $300K

HELENA — The state Board of Livestock next week may be asked to lay off some staff members at the state Livestock Department and offer unpaid furloughs to others.

December 09, 2014 7:15 pmLoading…
Zinke outraised, outspent Lewis by more than 2-to-1

Zinke outraised, outspent Lewis by more than 2-to-1

HELENA — Rep.-elect Ryan Zinke raised and spent more than twice as much money as his Democratic opponent, John Lewis, in the race for Montana’s open House seat this year.

December 09, 2014 8:00 amLoading…
Dems says House proposed rule changes hurt minority party

Dems says House proposed rule changes hurt minority party

HELENA — Two proposed rules adopted by a House committee last week would dramatically affect the rights of the minority party, Minority Leader Chuck Hunter, D-Helena, said.

December 08, 2014 8:10 pm Photos

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House dress code requires that women be 'sensitive to skirt lengths and necklines'

House dress code requires that women be 'sensitive to skirt lengths and necklines'

HELENA — Some Democratic legislators are critical and social media posters are having a field day ridiculing a strict new dress code for the floor of the 2015 Montana Legislature.

December 08, 2014 6:30 pm Photos

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Economist: Medicaid expansion a good deal for state; lawmakers remain reluctant

HELENA — Accepting federal money to expand Medicaid to cover thousands of low-income Montanans looks like a good financial and policy deal for the state, a University of Montana economist told a health care conference here Monday.

December 08, 2014 6:27 pmLoading…
Motl dismisses complaint against secretary of state

Motl dismisses complaint against secretary of state

HELENA — The state political practice commissioner has dismissed a Republican lawmaker’s complaint that Democratic Secretary of State Linda McCulloch improperly used public resources to solicit opposition to a ballot issue.

December 08, 2014 4:16 pmLoading…
As Montana considers raising speed limit, Utah finds wrecks dropped after increase

As Montana considers raising speed limit, Utah finds wrecks dropped after increase

HELENA — Overall highway crashes have dropped annually on some stretches of Interstate 15 in Utah since the state raised the speed limit to 80 mph in late 2008, studies have shown.

December 06, 2014 4:00 pmLoading…
Remington agrees to 'retrofit’ several million rifles

Remington agrees to 'retrofit’ several million rifles

BOZEMAN — The Remington Arms Co., seeking to settle claims that its iconic Model 700 bolt-action rifle and other rifles have defective trigger mechanisms that led to injuries and deaths, agreed Friday to replace the trigger mechanism in millions of weapons.

December 05, 2014 7:30 pm Photos

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Richard Barber

Richard Barber

Richard Barber, who spent 14 years investigating a Remington Arms Co. rifle’s trigger mechanism that he says was defective and caused the death of his son, talks Friday about the settlement of a class-action lawsuit that will lead to the recall of perhaps millions of the rifles, and replacem…

December 05, 2014 7:26 pm
Richard Barber

Richard Barber

Richard Barber, who spent 14 years investigating a Remington Arms Co. rifle’s trigger mechanism that he says was defective and caused the death of his son, talks Friday about the settlement of a class-action lawsuit that will lead to the recall of perhaps millions of the rifles, and replacem…

December 05, 2014 7:03 pm

Legislative leaders support investing in public works, but disagree how to fund it

HELENA — Incoming Republican and Democratic legislative leaders agreed Thursday that the state needs to make a major investment in infrastructure in 2015 but disagreed over how best to pay for it.

December 04, 2014 8:30 pmLoading…
Zinke assigned to Armed Services, Natural Resources committees

Zinke assigned to Armed Services, Natural Resources committees

HELENA — Rep.-elect Ryan Zinke said Thursday that he has been assigned to the House Armed Services and Natural Resources committee, which were his top choices.

December 04, 2014 7:15 pmLoading…
Republicans say public doesn't mind if they meet behind closed doors

Republicans say public doesn't mind if they meet behind closed doors

HELENA — The 1998 court order that says Montana legislators’ party caucuses cannot meet in private no longer applies — and the public doesn’t mind if these caucuses meet behind closed doors — a lawyer for House Republicans says.

December 04, 2014 4:57 pm Related Loading…

House passes bill containing Montana wilderness, public lands package

HELENA — The U.S. House Thursday passed a defense spending bill containing a broad public lands package for Montana, including new wilderness on the Rocky Mountain Front, bans on mining near Glacier National Park and changes supporting oil exploration and grazing on federal land.

December 04, 2014 3:53 pmLoading…
Montanans react to the public lands package

Montanans react to the public lands package

HELENA — A sampling of reaction to the public lands package unveiled Wednesday by Montana’s congressional delegation:

December 03, 2014 4:48 pm Video Loading…
Montana part of multistate coalition suing over immigration order

Montana part of multistate coalition suing over immigration order

HELENA — Montana has joined 16 other states in challenging President Barack Obama’s recent executive order to suspend immigration laws for 4.1 million people living illegally in the United States.

December 03, 2014 2:25 pmLoading…
Montana delegation unveils major public lands package

Montana delegation unveils major public lands package

HELENA — Montana’s congressional delegation Wednesday unveiled a sweeping public lands package that they hope will clear the current Congress in its waning days.

December 03, 2014 11:19 am Video Related Loading…

Greenwood joints Montana Family Foundation

HELENA — The Montana Family Foundation has hired Bowen Greenwood, former executive director of the state Republican Party, as its communications director.

December 02, 2014 4:17 pm
Montana Republican Party names new director; Greenwood joins conservative group

Montana Republican Party names new director; Greenwood joins conservative group

HELENA — The Montana Republican Party has appointed Chris Schipp as its new executive director, state Chairman Will Deschamps said Monday.

December 02, 2014 2:30 pmLoading…
Congressman-elect Zinke announces Randy Vogel as state director

Congressman-elect Zinke announces Randy Vogel as state director

HELENA — U.S. Rep.-elect Ryan Zinke has appointed Randy Vogel to lead his Montana staff as state director.

December 02, 2014 12:01 pmLoading…

Coal industry, utilities, governor express concern over EPA’s carbon rules

HELENA — Montana energy interests, environmentalists and others this week weighed in on the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed rules to limit carbon emissions at existing power plants, raising scores of questions about the rules’ workability.

December 02, 2014 10:51 amLoading…
Speed limits always controversial in Montana

Speed limits always controversial in Montana

HELENA — Speed limits have long been controversial in recent Montana history.

November 30, 2014 6:00 amLoading…
Some lawmakers want to increase interstate speed limit to 80 mph

Some lawmakers want to increase interstate speed limit to 80 mph

HELENA — Four legislators are having separate bills drafted for the 2015 session to raise the daytime speed limit on Montana interstate highways from 75 mph to 80 mph, and in one case, 85 mph.

November 29, 2014 10:00 pm Photos

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New report shows wage disparity in Montana for women, American Indians

HELENA — A disproportionate share of Montana women and American Indians and other people of color are earning less than a living wage, according to a report released this week.

November 28, 2014 6:00 amLoading…
At least $1.5M spent on Wheat-VanDyke Supreme Court race

At least $1.5M spent on Wheat-VanDyke Supreme Court race

HELENA — At least $1.6 million was spent on the Montana Supreme Court race between Justice Mike Wheat and challenger Lawrence VanDyke this year, records show, likely making it the most expensive judicial race in state history.

November 28, 2014 6:00 amLoading…
Owner of extravagant Flathead Lake island home wants taxes reduced $32 million

Owner of extravagant Flathead Lake island home wants taxes reduced $32 million

HELENA — In perhaps the most expensive residential tax-appeal case in Montana history, a California real estate mogul is asking a state board to reduce the assessed value of his Flathead Lake island home by $32 million.

November 28, 2014 6:00 am Video Related Loading…
New lawmaker posts comment comparing Demos to slaveholders

New lawmaker posts comment comparing Demos to slaveholders

HELENA — State Sen.-elect Nels Swandal, R-Wilsall, recently shared on his Facebook page a post from someone else showing a drawing of slaves working in a field and with a caption comparing the Democratic Party to slaveholders.

November 27, 2014 7:42 amLoading…
Food Bank Network study: 140,000 Montanans get help from local food banks

Food Bank Network study: 140,000 Montanans get help from local food banks

HELENA — Nearly one of seven Montanans received food through Montana Food Bank agencies in 2013, a new study said.

November 27, 2014 12:00 amLoading…
Malmstrom Air Force Base

Malmstrom Air Force Base

Malmstrom Air Force Base, on the east edge of Great Falls, contributes an estimated $300 million to $350 million to the local and state economy, Air Force officials say. It has 3,400 active-duty military personnel and another 4,500 military family dependents, civilian employees and contracto…

November 26, 2014 12:15 pm

Bank of America settles mortgage case with White Sulphur Springs couple

HELENA — A Meagher County couple has reached a confidential settlement with Bank of America in its lawsuit alleging the bank engaged in fraudulent dealings.

November 25, 2014 5:28 pmLoading…

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